Friday, May 17, 2013


We are in Cottonwood again.  It feels fabulous to be here and yet there is a lifestyle storm brewing. I hope it is a spring storm ready to awaken dormant life.  While at home in Taos, rain clouds surround us but fail to deliver to the center where we live. We watch it coming toward the mountains north of us in Hondo and Arroyo Seco, across the river to the west on the mesa and over the gorge toward Tres Piedres and in the south mountains toward Mora.  We live in a dry doughnut hole.  Yet, personally as well as meteorologically, the climate is showing signs of change.

Two nights ago, I was awake much of the night, twisting and turning pursued by ghouls, bad memories, aching bones and terrible projections of a fated future that pulls me down to the worst of the  past.  The money from my mom’s property is gone and we are back to our meager SS and SSI checks that come to about half of what is needed to cover the bills. Taking inventory, I remember that we may need to be prepared to pay rent on an apartment in Denver or Tucson if and while PQ recovers from a lung transplant, and will he ever get on the active list for a lung transplant anyway? He is already over the recommended age limit and hasn’t achieved the weight loss that would qualify him to be on the active list. Also, what if we are trapped to our last breath supporting our houses that now seem like albatrosses on steroids hanging around our necks?  One is a Reservation HUD house and the other is a Habitat for Humanity house and we can never sell or rent them.  Everything about our life suddenly seems to quake on the edge of catastrophe, or so it seems when shutting off the lights and pulling up the covers.

Now with a focused and over amped imagination, I mentally reviewed shops and galleries in town where I might apply for work. The gut response was Uhhhgg!  Reentering that life of standing all day,  making small talk with tourists, dusting merchandise, straitening pictures, sweeping the floor when business is slow plus delivering the same spiel to everyone who walks through the door again and again all for slightly over minimum wage and no benefits is beyond unappealing. I did it in one place or another for over 20 years and I was now evaluating whether survival was really worth doing it again.  Amended to this procession of petrifying possibilities; what if I lose a front tooth that has needed fixing for almost 10 years, then I’ll be too ugly to work in a shop or gallery, or what if one of our seemingly minor health issues turns out not to be minor.  I haven’t had health insurance since I left ARCO 30 years ago. PQ’s insurance is very basic but at least he is an Indian and qualifies for Indian Health Services, questionable as they are. I once read a humorous astrological article stating that those born under the sign of Cancer need to binge on awful possibilities now and then. I have Moon conjunct Jupiter rising in Cancer, a triple whammy.  If I’ve shared that quote before it’s because it calms me down to blame the Moon.

As we started down Oak Creek Canyon, PQ said, “I don’t want you to get a job in a shop. I think we should start doing workshops at home, maybe doing spiritual tours of Taos and continue to work on finding outlets for our art.” This felt very comforting coming from my husband.   Here is someone who loves me and doesn’t want to sacrifice me to the gods of petty change. Along with thoughts about getting a job, I realized I’d been worrying about how I could also keep up with my household tasks. Painting and writing would probably go and of course how could I travel to Arizona, be there to help with PQ’s art shows and ultimately travel to another state if and when he has a lung transplant if I’m tied down to a day job with a narrow margin of survival.

We continued to talk about moneymaking possibilities.  I noticed myself edging toward the dangerous drop. My personal black hole is closer than it’s been for a long time.  I saw that while PQ believed that we could succeed, I wasn’t so sure. I thought of all sorts of things that could go wrong.
PQ at the bar, 15.Quince's New Digs
Now that we are in Cottonwood for a few days the dark cloud has lifted, a beam of light is shining through. It isn’t that anything concrete has changed but I recognized after laying out my doubts that I’ve always secretly believed that the world out there would have no tolerance for my personal offerings and preferences. PQ doesn’t have this problem, he has never worked where he didn’t want to be out of self-doubt or false obligation to someone else’s values.  Now the padding that held this ancient psychic garbage avalanche at bay is gone. Now that I’ve retired from that safe but miserable lifestyle, the pact I made with the universe when I retired, intending never to backslide isn’t easily broken.  It is almost impossible to put ill-fitting shoes back on blistered feet once you’ve taken them off.

Yesterday we visited 15. Quince’s new digs in Cottonwood. It’s a different breed than the old Jerome venue, a modern Southwest style building with oodles of space, a large bar and a separate room for special occasions or just a full house. It was already busy even though this was only the second day at the new location.  We each had special of the day Blueberry Mint Margaritas and shared tortilla chips with guacamole and three flavors of salsa while waiting to talk to owner Vlad Costa. The food is still the same, absolutely the best Mexican anywhere. Vlad was extremely busy but took time out to talk to us about when we wanted the show and where we wanted to hang paintings. We are thinking mid-July for the show.

A painting of Taos Pueblo, 15.Quince in Cottonwood
Life is definitely in the “to be continued,” stage.  I’m moving toward oncoming challenges with a combination of apprehension and curiosity. Well, actually more than curiosity. I sense that an entirely new way of being in the world is about to come through the door. Is it actually possible to live by faith intuition and the seat of your pants? To be continued.